President Kenyatta mourns Bahrain Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman


President Kenyatta mourns Bahrain Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman
Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa was Bahrain's only premier since the island nation declared independence in 1971. PHOTO| COURTESY

President Uhuru Kenyatta has sent a message of condolence to the People, the House of Khalifa and the Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain following the death of Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman.

Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman died on Wednesday at Mayo Clinic Hospital in the US, according to Bahrain’s official news agency. Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa has ordered a week-long mourning period in the country.

In his message of comfort, the President mourned the departed Prime Minister as a great friend of Kenya and an astute global leader whose contribution to regional peace processes in the Middle East shall be dearly missed.

“The death of Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman is a big blow to the world especially in the Middle East where he was a celebrated peace champion and an icon of tranquility.

“As Kenyans, we have lost a comrade, a friend who stood with us and ardently supported our multilateral efforts to ensure peace and stability in Eastern and the Horn of Africa region.

“At bilateral level, Prime Minister Salman worked tirelessly to ensure strong ties between Kenya and Bahrain through trade, diplomacy and people-to-people exchanges,” President Kenyatta eulogised.

Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman, 84, was one of the longest serving leaders in the Middle East having taken over the premiership in 1970, a year before the Gulf nation attained independence in 1971.

President Kenyatta wished the House of Khalifa and the People of Bahrain God’s enduring comfort as they mourn their departed leader.

Khalifa took office a day after Bahrain declared independence from Britain, in August 1971. His image has been plastered on walls around the country for decades, and he is credited with helping to usher in a modern economy, but he was accused by activists of brutally quashing the country’s Arab Spring protests in 2011.
He was also known for his opulent wealth. The PM was a royal in the Al Khalifa dynasty that reigned in Bahrain for more than two centuries. He is the son of Sheikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, who ruled the island nation for nearly two decades while it was a British protectorate.

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